Is it just me or is quiche underrated? Quiche is easy to make, totally delicious to eat, and perfect for using up Miscellaneous Fridge Veggies. There’s so much egg and cheese involved, it’s sort of hard to make a thing like quiche taste bad. Granted, your arteries probably don’t want you to slam down a quiche daily. But, every once in a while, nothing beats a warm slice.
I get quiche cravings about once a quarter. 2010’s Q4 craving involved leeks and fennel. So I headed to the store to stock up on eggs, my necessary veggies, and milk. You can pick up a store bought pastry crust, but it’s surprisingly easy to make one yourself.
So, to tackle the crust, throw some flour in a bowl with a little salt, and add very cold diced butter. Using your fingers, rub in the butter until it looks flaky and cornmeal-esque. Then, add a few tablespoons of ice water and bring it together into a dough ball. Don’t panic – it will be floury and dry at first. Keep mixing, adding droplets of water to the really dry areas if necessary to bring the dough together. You’ll have to knead it a little to get it smooth, then you can roll it out for your pie shell.
To avoid the most frequent pastry slip ups, don’t add too much water. A little will go a long way. Too much water makes for a sticky, impossible-to-roll-out dough. Also, when rolling out the dough, be sure to do it on a lightly floured countertop (not a wooden surface). Keep turning and moving your dough in between rolls to make sure it’s not sticking. Practice makes perfect!
I used a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom, but you could just as easily use a pie dish. Gently lift your rolled out dough and fit it into the dish. Trim up the excess pastry and save it if you need to patch up any areas. Phew! You’re finished. Stick it in the fridge.
The filling is a breeze after your homemade crust adventure. You want to cook down your veggies (in this case, leeks and fennel… make sure to wash those leeks!) until they’re soft. I melted a little butter in a pan on medium heat, added my leeks and fennel, and seasoned them with salt and pepper. Stir them occasionally until they’re cooked (about 10 minutes).
While the veggies cook, mix together your eggs, cheese, any herbs (I went with chives), milk, salt, and pepper. Allow the vegetables to cool before adding them to the egg mixture. If you want to test the seasoning (and don’t want to eat raw egg), cook off a teaspoon of the mixture in a warm pan. Taste it, and make sure the seasoning is where you want it. When you’re ready, pour the whole mix into your chilled pie shell. Into a 350⁰ oven for 30 minutes!
The quiche is done when the crust is browned and the filling is cooked through. Touch the middle of the quiche to make sure it’s firm. You can allow it to cool down to room temp or serve it when it’s hot! Quiche is great with a simple arugula or watercress salad.
For the shell:
- 1 cup flour
- ⅓ cup cold salted butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 – 2 ½ tablespoons cold water
For the filling:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1 cup fennel, feathery heads removed, de-cored, and thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup chopped chives
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- Another ¼ teaspoon salt
- More fresh ground pepper if needed
Makes one 9 inch quiche